I love maple pepper. I first had some at the now-closed Dakota Steakhouse in Latham, NY. Loved it so much, I bought a bottle before I left the restaurant. Weeks later, when that bottle was done, I drove back down to the restaurant to get another one… only to find that the restaurant had closed as part of a bankruptcy reorganization. Fortunately, maple pepper is pretty easy to find in the Northeast. There’s just something so darned yummy about the sweet and savory tug-o-war that happens on the tongue with those two flavors.
Of all the flavor combinations my Mom concocted over the years for her bread recipes, I’m surprised she never made a maple pepper bread (I’d like to think she was waiting for me to get around to it…). Over Thanksgiving, I put this recipe together. It is a fine savory bread, but I have my suspicions that a maple pepper iced glaze drizzled atop the rolls would add a nice touch. I have included a speculative recipe for the kind of glaze I’m imagining. If I get around to trying it, I’ll report back.
I used two cups of buckwheat flour because it imparts a smooth elasticity to the dough that works well for rolls. The maple syrup adds a gentle sweetness (I wish the maple flavor was bolder actually) and the pepper is really present only in the after taste – unless you get a big piece of pepper corn… which is why the family downvoted this one. The cracked pepper was a bit much for them I think.
Buckwheat Maple Pepper Rolls
- 2 scant tablespoons (or 2 ¼-ounce packages) active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 2 cups warm milk about 110 degrees
- 1½ cup maple syrup
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1-2 tablespoon(s) cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4-5 cups unbleached flour
- Additional oil optional
In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften.
Add milk, maple syrup, buckwheat flour, oil, eggs, salt, cracked black pepper, and 1 cup unbleached flour. Beat vigorously for two minutes.
Gradually add flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. For loaves, shape dough and place on a well-greased baking sheet. For rolls and knots, shape dough and place on well-greased muffin pan. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the loaves reaches 190 degrees.
Immediately remove loaves from pans and cool on a rack.